COVID 19 Updates
A Message from the President
March 25, 2020
Dear Statewide Members;
First and foremost, the APA Executive Board is hopeful that this email finds you all in good health and keeping your stress levels manageable. These are extraordinary circumstances and information is changing almost hourly.
This message is an attempt to communicate what we know to be the statewide situation (accepting that some processes and solutions are tweaked to meet the needs of local campuses). Some answers/news for the statewide membership:
- For now, although the bargaining team is working on proposals for the 2020-23 APA Agreement, formal negotiations have been postponed.
- Some campuses have changed the status of non-essential personnel to “essential”. (Some are being assigned temporary-essential). This is a response to the fact that current needs are outside the realm of weather-related emergencies – it’s meant to both enable people to work from home and/or be allowed to work in offices if that need exists.
- Sick Leave may be used for caring for family members and for caring for children who are home from school. Employees who are working from home AND caring for children or family members should be recording their time as TEL (if at work, use REG)
- Members needing Sick Leave Bank time will not be required to be off the payroll for a week before using the benefit.
We are working on:
- Postponing the April 1 deadline for employee narratives and the June 1 evaluations
- Governor Baker’s recent announcement about non-essential businesses being closed and how that conflicts with campus offices being “open”
- Allowing folks who are eligible for, but not enrolled, to join the local Sick Leave Banks
- Extending vacation accrual deadlines
- Concerns as they come to our attention
I continue to encourage APA members to keep Local Chapter Presidents apprised of any concerns. We’re committed to supporting you.
Of course, conditions and responses change daily as infections increase and safety becomes more concerning. The effort made to get courses online and to train and support the faculty to create and use an “online classroom” has been unprecedented and commendable and will ensure that most seniors will earn their diplomas.
Our AFSCME colleagues have kept campuses clean (and snow cleared) for students and employees, and looked after the needs of students who must stay on campuses for lack of a safe alternative. Our APA members are still recruiting and admitting students for the fall – during the most crucial time for that effort. Refunds are being processed, so that families who need money to survive economic challenges can have some relief. Equipment and resources that allow faculty to teach, and employees to keep the business of the campuses have been procured and distributed. It is an AWESOME effort on behalf of students, families and the Institutions that employees have undertaken and there is sincerely no adequate way to say “Thank you”. What we pledge, as representatives of the APA, is to do our very best to pursue the best new APA Agreement we can bargain when we get back to negotiations. You deserve that!
If not for the efforts made by all of our members and colleagues, our institutions would be struggling to ensure that, when this crisis is over, there will be new and returning students to serve and thriving campuses at which we can continue working. We are all rightly concerned about the health and safety of our members and their colleagues, however, there is no question that the workforce has absolutely lived up to their “Essential” status.
Thank you all, sincerely, for all that you do for our state institutions.
Statewide APA President
Fitchburg State Local Chapter President